Environment

United Nations
9:27 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Climate Sticking Point: Who Cuts And By How Much?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a speech Thursday at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. A major sticking point remains over how to divide greenhouse emissions targets.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 2:37 pm

U.N. talks on global warming are wrapping up in Peru, but a divide between rich and poor countries and how to divvy up targets to reduce greenhouse gases is a key sticking point that has remained unresolved.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has acknowledged that the issue is "hard fought and ... complex," but he says it is crucial that the targets be agreed on before next year's summit in Paris. The talks in Peru end today.

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Development
10:18 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Talks Imminent Over Union Station Future in New Haven

Union Station in New Haven
City of New Haven

Transportation officials and representatives from New Haven city government will sit down this week to discuss long-range plans for Union Station. 

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Climate Change
6:09 am
Tue December 9, 2014

How 3.6 Degrees Became a Global Warming Tipping Point

A team of scientists in 2012 from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island, explores the waters near the Helheim Glacier in Greenland before using an autonomous undersea vehicle to study glacial ice melt.
U.S. Navy

As the United Nations climate change talks in Lima enter into their second week, one measurement that's coming up a lot is 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. 

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New York City
10:18 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

New York City Council Will Weigh Ban On Horse-Drawn Carriages

A horse-drawn carriage operator waits for riders near Central Park in New York on October 20, 2014. Mayor Bill de Blasio is backing legislation that would ban such carriages in 2016.
JEWEL SAMAD AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 7:15 pm

Following up on a controversial campaign promise, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's bill to ban horse-drawn carriages reached the City Council on Monday, in a move to phase out the carriages that often give tours around Central Park.

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Curiosity Rover
10:17 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

NASA Photos Show New Signs Of A Lake On Mars

NASA says "cross-bedding" in the layers of this Martian rock is proof that water moved on Mars, leaving waves or ripples of loose sediment. The image is from a site at Mount Sharp that NASA calls "Whale Rock."
NASA

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 12:41 pm

Signs of water currents and sediments are seen in the latest photos NASA's Curiosity rover sent home from Mars, the space agency said Monday. The images suggest "ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes," NASA says.

In the huge Gale Crater where Curiosity has been exploring, the water and sediment flow might have been massive enough to build a mountain — the 3-mile-high Mount Sharp — NASA researchers say. But they acknowledge that they're still working to solve the mystery of how the mountain formed in a crater.

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Trains
2:40 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Officials Highlight Regional Rail Line in Massachusetts and Connecticut

Downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.
Expos1225 Creative Commons

Massachusetts and Connecticut officials are riding the rails on Monday to highlight upgrades in the so-called "knowledge corridor" through southern New England. 

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California
8:29 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Photos: Massive Fire Shuts Down Freeways In Los Angeles

An enormous fire engulfs an unfinished apartment complex early Monday in Los Angeles.
Courtesy of Eric Politzer

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 9:59 am

A huge apartment complex under construction near Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles was in flames early Monday, closing two major highways that intersect nearby.

More than 250 firefighters are responding, fire department spokesman David Orti told the Los Angeles Times.

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Unmanned Test, Take Two
7:14 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Orion Spacecraft Splashes Down After High-Orbit Test

The Orion spacecraft awaits its launch in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
NASA

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 1:00 pm

NASA's unmanned Orion spacecraft has successfully splashed down about 400 miles west of La Paz, Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean after a liftoff, two orbits and re-entry that lasted just under 4 1/2 hours.

Orion, which could one day take astronauts to Mars, made a "bull's-eye splashdown" at 11:29 a.m. ET, mission control said, after the spacecraft endured a searing 4,000-degree Fahrenheit re-entry and was carried to the ocean surface under four giant red-and-white parachutes.

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Rhode Island
2:48 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Battle With The Sea: In Westerly, Beach Town Still Shoring Up For Future Storms

Tom Retano's three-bedroom house in Misquamicut is temporarily elevated off its original foundation, as work to permanently elevate the house 15 feet above sea level began this summer.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 1:37 pm

Within four years, the town of Westerly experienced four major storms: the Great Flood of 2010, Hurricane Irene in 2011, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and the February 2013 Nor’easter. Like many coastal cities and towns around the state, Westerly is also vulnerable to high tides that flood roads even without storms.

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Unmanned Test Orbit
9:35 am
Thu December 4, 2014

NASA Scrubs Launch Of Orion Spacecraft

NASA's Orion spaceship early Thursday in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 2:38 pm

Update at 9:35 a.m. ET

NASA's Orion spacecraft, which could one day send astronauts to Mars, is stuck on terra firma for at least another day after the space agency's mission control was unable to satisfactorily resolve a number of issues before a 9:45 a.m. ET launch window closed.

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Searching Space
3:14 am
Thu December 4, 2014

To Search For A New Supernova, Build A New Camera

A blast from the past: Using data from four telescopes, NASA created this image of the first documented sighting of a supernova, made by Chinese astronomers in 185 A.D.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/B. Williams

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 2:03 pm

The search for the massive star explosions called supernovae is about to get a big boost. Astronomers at Caltech in Pasadena are building a new camera that will let them survey the entire night sky in three nights.

The problem with looking for supernovae is you can't really be sure when and where to look for them. Most telescope cameras can only capture a small patch of sky at a time. But the new camera, to be mounted on a telescope at the Palomar Observatory, has a much larger field of view.

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Transportation
2:43 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Metro-North Says It Needs New Infrastructure to Meet Punctuality Goal

Metro-North Railroad workers repair a damaged section of track after a Bronx derailment in December 2013.
Patrick Cashin Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The president of Metro-North told Governor Dannel Malloy that the commuter rail line cannot reach its target of 95 percent on-time service, and that the best way to achieve the goal of punctuality is to continue to rebuild the rail system. 

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Bottles, Bottles, Everywhere
8:25 am
Tue December 2, 2014

"Washed Ashore" Exhibit at Mystic Aquarium Features Ocean Trash

An exhibition features ocean creatures sculpted from collected beach refuse.
Mystic Aquarium

A new exhibition at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut is using trash from the ocean to create art. It's an effort to highlight the importance of recycling plastic.

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Orion
5:45 am
Tue December 2, 2014

NASA Prepares To Test New Spacecraft (That You've Likely Never Heard Of)

The Orion capsule is poised to make its first test flight Thursday. If all goes as planned, the unmanned vehicle will orbit Earth twice before splashing into the Pacific Ocean.
Kim Shiflett NASA

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 3:43 pm

NASA is about to launch a new spaceship into orbit, and Mallory Loe has never heard of it.

"I mean, technically, NASA doesn't have another spaceship, do they?" she asks incredulously during a visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

She's hardly the only one who doesn't know about this new spacecraft. In fact, none of a half-dozen tourists NPR interviewed in the museum's lobby was aware of the Orion spaceship.

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Emissions
3:12 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

EPA Proposes New Rules To Curb Ozone Levels

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy testifies at an oversight hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 23.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 1:49 pm

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new rules today to reduce emission levels for smog-causing ozone, which is linked to asthma and other health problems.

The draft measure calls for lowering the threshold for ozone from 75 parts per billion to between 65 ppb and 70 ppb. The agency said it would take comments on an ozone level as low as 60 ppb.

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Turkey Snow
9:15 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Winter Storm Warning Issued for Thanksgiving Commute

The National Weather Service says parts of Connecticut could get 6-10 inches of heavy snow.
B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for northern Connecticut through southern New Hampshire that will snarl Thanksgiving travel plans for many on Wednesday.

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Long Island Sound
9:56 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Grants of $1.3 Million to Benefit Long Island Sound Environment

A tidal creek on Long Island Sound impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
UConn

Federal and state environmental officials say grants of more than $1.3 million have been awarded to local government and community groups in Connecticut and New York to improve the health of Long Island Sound. 

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Rail Safety
2:59 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

DOT's James Redeker: Metro-North Can Achieve Safety and On-Time Performance

Credit Sean Marshall / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s transportation commissioner has rejected criticism that his department is more concerned with reliability than with safety on the Metro-North Railroad. 

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Metro-North
8:17 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Federal Report Recommends Attention to Sleep Disorders for Safer Railroads

On December 1, 2013 a Metro-North train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx.
Steve Guttman Creative Commons

The National Transportation Safety Board released a report Wednesday recommending better training for the nation's doctors in identifying and treating sleep disorders. This follows last year's deadly Metro-North derailment in the Bronx that it blames on an engineer's sleepiness. 

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Underwater Archeology
10:36 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Discovery of 17th-Century Shipwreck Provides Window Into Violent Past

Kroum Batchvarov, assistant professor of maritime archaeology at UConn, measures a cannon under water.
Dean Winter

There's only so much history you can learn from books. Sometimes, you just need to go underwater and travel back in time.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:05 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Bring Back the Beaver!

Beaver are one of few animals capable of engineering the ecosystem
Credit Finchlake 2000 / Creative Commons

I first realized that beavers were awesome back in the 1980's on a beaver observation tour led by an Acadia National Park ranger who looked in the most attractive way possible - like a beaver. 

This is a theory of mine that I will not be bringing up to my guests on the show today. A high percentage of people who devote their lives to studying beavers resemble beavers. They have very nice overbites and they even fall into the habit of slapping their thighs with their hands the way a beaver slaps the water with his tail. 

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New York
7:33 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Historic Snowstorm Buries Western New York, Kills 7

A house is obscured by windblown, lake-effect snow on Tuesday.
Carolyn Thompson AP

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 1:28 am

Updated 1:30 a.m. ET Thursday:

Another 2 to 3 feet of snow is expected to fall in the Buffalo area by late Thursday. At least seven deaths in western New York have been blamed on the storm — at least four of them from heart attacks.

Original Post:

Driven by the lake effect, a massive snowstorm dumped up to 60 inches of snow on some parts of western New York, killing at least five people and paralyzing an area used to huge snow totals.

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Weather
1:46 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside: All 50 States Hit 32 Degrees

A commuter walks along Market Street in freezing temperatures on Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke AP

You probably noticed: It's really cold outside. But it's not just you.

According to the National Weather Service and meteorologist Eric Holthaus, all 50 states hit 32 degrees or lower on Tuesday.

Yep. Even Hawaii, where Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano reaching 13,800 feet above sea level, was below freezing.

This map from the National Weather Service's Twin Cities office shows you that:

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Beetle Invasion
7:45 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Changes Are Coming to Connecticut's Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine

Beginning Dec. 5, Connecticut will join a federal quarantine zone restricting the movement of ash firewood.
USDAgov Flickr Creative Commons

It looks like the Emerald Ash Borer has won. Since 2012, the tiny invasive green beetle has spread to dozens of towns, posing a deadly risk to ash trees and resulting in six counties falling under wood quarantines. Now, with winter just around the corner, the state has announced it will modify those rules to make it easier for consumers to transport firewood around the state. 

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Energy
6:38 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

What You Need To Know About The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

Pipes for TransCanada's planned Keystone XL pipeline are stored in Gascoyne, N.D. The U.S. House has voted to approve the proposed project, which would allow crude oil to flow from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The Senate plans to vote Tuesday on legislation that would greenlight the project.
Andrew Cullen Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 7:36 pm

Update at 7:35 p.m. ET: The Senate voted against completing the Keystone pipeline.

The remaining portion of the Keystone pipeline project, if completed, will be fewer than 1,200 miles long — just a fraction of the existing 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines running beneath our feet in the United States.

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Philae Lander
2:46 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Comet Lander's Big Bounce Caught On Camera

The Rosetta spacecraft, which orbits the comet, captured this series of images of the Philae lander bounding off the surface. The precise spot the lander came to a stop remains unknown.
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 7:41 pm

Updated at 3:45PM ET

It was the first ever landing on a comet, and it was perfect.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of the journey for the European Space Agency's unmanned Philae lander. After touching down on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the lander bounced off the surface and flew a kilometer back up into space.

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Stamford
10:53 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Feds Fine Stamford Over Police Station Asbestos

Stamford Police Department.
Credit Facebook

Federal health and safety officials have fined Stamford about $2,700 for asbestos and water contamination at the city's police headquarters. 

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Food Waste
3:47 am
Mon November 17, 2014

To End Food Waste, Change Needs To Begin At Home

Sherri Erkel and her daughter, Asa, cook dinner in their kitchen in Iowa City, Iowa. The Erkel family is part of an EPA study measuring the amount of food wasted in U.S. homes.
Pat Aylward NET News

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 3:24 pm

It's a hot summer day outside Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He's wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.

"You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools," Chappelle says. "It doesn't matter if it's elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none."

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Food Waste
1:01 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Massachusetts DEP Commissioner To View Red Lion Inn's Composting Process

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 4:14 pm

With America Recycles Day Saturday, Massachusetts environmental officials are celebrating the Commonwealth’s new commercial food waste ban – the first statewide ban in the nation. The state’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection will visit the Red Lion Inn to see how the renowned hotel is shipping its food waste to a nearby farm.

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Philae
9:59 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Comet Lander Deploys Drill, But Could Lose Power Tonight

Engineers at the European Space Agency fear that they won't be able to communicate with the Philae lander after Friday. Here, lander manager Stefan Ulamec (left, in foreground) watches as data confirming the comet landing arrived Wednesday.
European Space Agency

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 12:38 pm

Philae, the lander currently on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, may not be able to perform its extended mission — scientists at the European Space Agency worry that the probe may have landed in a spot too shadowy for solar panels to recharge its batteries. The ESA says it may not be able to contact the craft after Friday night.

Worries over the robotic lander's power supply prompted engineers to take the risky step of activating its drill, an operation that had been shelved out of fears that it would sap the remaining charge.

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